Artist Jason Fabok continues to steal the show in DETECTIVE COMICS. Don't get me wrong, John Layman's providing an entertaining story, but Fabok simply gets Batman and his world. Seriously, go ahead and take a moment or two to admire that cover again. Wonderful, isn't it? There's a beyond terrific amount of darker detail conveyed into each character and just the right amount of shading, too. It's a perfect match for the grittier tone and city, yet it never feels too bleak or depressing. When combined with Blond's colors, there's some truly vivid, explosive and tremendously cinematic pages to be found in this issue. DC, please keep throwing more and more Batman books at Fabok. After reading this story, I can say with total confidence the dude is more than deserving of it.
As for the story, Layman wastes no time following-up on the last cliffhanger and matters literally speed right ahead. Thanks to the talented visuals team, Layman's plot is presented in an awesomely cinematic fashion and never gives you much of a break as the developments race ahead and a breakneck pace. Then, there's a HUGE amount of anticipation and hype as Batman finally confronts Wrath in a jaw-dropping splash page. What follows is a bit too short for my taste, but it's still quite rad thanks to the powerful artwork and circumstances.
I must admit, I didn't see the conclusion coming (between Wrath/Batman, that is) and I think it's a real fitting way to wrap up this story. It would have been nice to see a little more of a brawl before we were hit with that twist, yet it was still a commendable turn of events with a lot of heart behind it. Once the dust settles from their brawl, Layman also takes steps to establish the book's future and one of these steps has me particularly intrigued.
Some of the dialogue and captions feel unnatural or just unnecessary. A lot of situations are blatantly spelled out for us which honestly don't need to be. For the sake of being spoiler-free, I'll avoiding providing specifics, but there were a handful of situations where it was easy enough to put together the pieces without having a character elaborate why this or that was done.
Batman's big fight with Wrath felt rather short considering all of the build-up and the beyond epic cover showcasing a confrontation between the two. Sure, it's quite badass how it unfolds, but considering all that has occurred, its end felta bit too abrupt to me (with Batman, that is). I'm sure those who are less passionate about battles will disagree and perhaps it's my own fault for hoping for more, but I've been anxiously awaiting this showdown for quite some time and the pressure has certainly been building.
While it would have been nice to have a bigger final confrontation between these two and some of the dialogue comes off as forced, this was still a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to Wrath's New 52 debut. There's a nice amount of emotion to help break up the chaotic events and the visuals absolutely deliver and then some. This story has definitely put DETECTIVE COMICS back on my radar and I'm looking forward to what's next.